How to Write about a Scientific Experiment

>APA format is the common style.

>Name of the author should be used only on the title page, because “a scientific paper can be

most objective if the author remains anonymous while the paper is read” (

>Present tense should be used for all background information.

>Future tense for work that will be done.

>Past tense is used to describe results.

>Typical headings and sections may be:

PURPOSE: A brief explanation of why the experiment was done.

HYPOTHESIS: An educated guess as to what will happen during the experiment.

EQUIPMENT: Extremely specific details as to what was used and how it was used. Do not say “one pair of tongs from the lab room,” instead be specific to length, weight, type of materials the tongs were made out of, shape of the tongs themselves, etc.

PROCEDURE: Extensive and explicit detail in a step by step fashion, so that your experiment can be duplicated later on.

RESULTS: Record all experiment data you discover during procedure.

DISCUSSION: Analyze the data include any needed charts or graphs.

CONCLUSION: What was learned from the experiment. Was the hypothesis correct, incorrect, somewhat correct and why. Also explain ways in which the experiment may be modified for differing results.


Copyright (C)2012 by Charity Winsor-Farmer. All rights reserved.This document may be distributed as long as it is done entirely with all attributions to organizations and authors. Commercial distribution is strictly prohibited. Portions of this document may be copyrighted by other organizations. Some information gathered from:,